The Los Angeles Lakers absolutely torched the New York Knicks at Staples Center on Tuesday night, laying a 127-96 hammering on the visiting 'Bockers. New York's embarrassing defensive display — they allowed the Lakers to shoot 57.8 percent from the floor and a scorching 18 for 28 (64.3 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc — came in full view of new boss Phil Jackson (who took in the game from a luxury suite high above the hardwood), jettisoned ex-teammate Metta World Peace (who joined him there) and a national television audience who watched the Knicks both cement a sub-.500 record with their 42nd loss and, for the second time in three nights, waste a chance to draw within a hair's breadth of the reeling Atlanta Hawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the woeful Eastern Conference by beating a lottery-bound opponent.
Instead of resuming their recent strong run of form, though, the Knicks allowed a Lakers team without Kobe Bryant (knee fracture), Steve Nash (continued nerve-root irritation issues) and Pau Gasol (vertigo) to score 51 points in the third quarter, establishing a new Lakers franchise high for single-quarter scoring and a new Knicks nadir in single-frame permissiveness. Damn near everything was going down for L.A. in the third — the Lakers made 12 straight shots from the 6:30 mark through the closing seconds of the third, taking a commanding 28-point lead into the final possession of the period — and they had chance to run the number to a lucky 13 after an Anthony jumper with 22 seconds left.
It would have been absolutely perfect for unrepentant gunner Nick Young to put a button on the quarter with the kind of buzzer-beater that begged for a "Right between the eyesssss" from TNT play-by-play man Kevin Harlan. Instead, the way Swaggy closed out the quarter was perfect for a very different reason:
Oh, boy, is that just 100 percent correct. Young steps back on Tim Hardaway Jr., uncorks the 3-pointer, immediately remembers the the time that former Washington Wizards teammate and longtime BFF/Fisher Price hoop adversary Gilbert Arenas celebrated a game-winning long ball before it went down, and decides to follow suit ... only for the shot to rim out as he's already got his back to the basket and his dual three-finger salutes blaring for all to see. It's just so quintessentially Swaggy P — it's like crashing a toboggan on the Great Wall of China, eating way too much cinnamon, throwing a layup over the backboard, airballing a 360 layup, and wearing this mullet, this shirt and these pants all rolled into one thing. It is, I think, Peak Swaggy P.
It was also the only 3-pointer Young missed all night, as he went 5 for 6 from downtown and 6 for 10 overall to finish with 20 points and four rebounds in just 18 1/2 minutes of work on Tuesday. I'm not sure such a wonderful performance on basic cable is enough to soothe the sting of having $100,000 worth of stuff stolen from you, but Swaggy sure seemed to enjoy it, and to dig acting as a "player hater" doing his level best to ruin the Knicks' postseason chances. Red Octobers or no Red Octobers, buzzer-beating 3s or no buzzer-beating 3s, Swaggy's going to flourish regardless. It's a celebration, britches. Put your threes up and just keep walking.
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